Set up nicely on final approach, the student pilot was dismayed to observe an aircraft taxiing onto the runway and—without a word on the common traffic advisory frequency— commencing a takeoff run.
Adding power to go around, and maneuvering slightly right of the runway to keep tabs on the aircraft below, the student reached for the flap switch—but what happened next was, to say the least, unexpected: Instead of climbing smartly away from trouble, the aircraft’s sink rate momentarily increased. What went wrong?
During maneuvers such as takeoffs, stall recoveries, and go-arounds, performing steps of the appropriate checklist is a must—but be sure the current step has had its effect before moving on to the next. In many maneuvers, a positive rate of climb must be verified before proceeding to the next checklist item. As given in the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for a normal or crosswind takeoff, the applicant should retract “the landing gear, if appropriate, and flaps after a positive rate of climb is established.”
What instrument do you refer to when verifying a positive rate of climb? The go-to gauge is your vertical speed indicator (VSI).
Chapter 5 of the Airplane Flying Handbook discusses a nuance of the crosswind takeoff and climb technique in which the positive rate of climb also marks the point when the pilot should discontinue the slipped method of crosswind correction.
“This side-slipping should be continued until the airplane has a positive rate of climb. At that time, the airplane should be turned into the wind to establish just enough wind correction angle to counteract the wind and then the wings rolled level. Firm and aggressive use of the rudders will be required to keep the airplane headed straight down the runway,” it explains.
As for that go-around, you can avoid an untimely sink rate by assuring that your aircraft’s descent has been stopped before you complete the flap retraction. In some aircraft such as older Cessna 172s with 40 degrees of flap travel, the checklist calls for an immediate partial retraction of flaps (to reduce drag), and then gradual retraction based on obstacle-clearance needs and applying recommended airspeeds.
Know your checklist and practice the maneuvers often, making sure to scan the VSI for a positive rate!
Flight Training News
Larry Brown, a retired Air Force F-15 pilot, writes about using his fighter pilot training to help his students fly in a variety of weather conditions. He uses the lessons he learned as a flight instructor on the T-38 at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla., to urge pilots always to have a backup landing plan to their backup landing plan. Read more >>
Flight school owner remains committed to the future
Charley Valera, owner of FCA Flight Center at Fitchburg Municipal Airport in Fitchburg, Mass., says he remains committed to running the flight school he took over a year ago in light of a coming shortage of pilots. Valera told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that he is determined to train the future generation of airline pilots. The flight school recently added a Cirrus SR20 to its fleet of Cessna 172s and 152s.
Texas school district teaching students to repair, fly airplanes
An aviation program for high school students in the Georgetown (Texas) School District enables students to work on a 1944 North American B-25 Mitchell as well as learn to fly. The program has 32 enrollees who are supervised as they make repairs at Pilot’s Choice Aviation at Georgetown Municipal Airport. They start in tenth grade learning theory and physics, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
‘Minimum fuel’ or ‘fuel emergency’?
Pilots generally shy away from using the term “emergency” when talking to ATC. But when it comes to communicating a low fuel situation, what you say is as important as when you say it. In the latest installment of the Ask ATC series from the Air Safety Institute, listen to controllers explain the difference between how they handle a “minimum fuel” radio call versus a “fuel emergency.”
Through another’s eyes…
One of the timeliest sources of weather information is from other pilots through pilot reports, or pireps. Their presence in the air can sometimes be the only way to learn about some types of weather phenomena—such as cloud tops, cloud layers, the severity of turbulence, and more. Learn more about pireps by taking the Air Safety Institute’s SkySpotter: Pireps Made Easy online course.
If you enjoy the weekly Training Tips in ePilot Flight Training Edition, don’t forget that you can access archives that date back to 2001. No matter what stage of training you're in, ePilot Flight Training Edition has a Training Tip crafted with you in mind.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you’re not already a member, join today and get the pilot’s edge. Login information is available online.
Meet the Debonair
AOPA’s next sweepstakes airplane is a 1963 Beech Debonair. Some call it the “Baby Bonanza,” and AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne will be the one who takes it from its current state to practically a new airplane from the wheels up. In this segment from AOPA Live This Week, Oct. 18, Horne shows you what’s involved in locating the perfect Debonair and the painstaking prebuy process he used. Watch AOPA Live® >>
American Airlines freezes defined benefit pension plans
Business Insurance reported Nov. 1 that American Airlines has frozen its four underfunded pension plans, which have about 130,000 participants. American said in January that it would seek bankruptcy court approval to terminate the plans. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that would have to pick up billions of dollars in benefits that were not funded, said American needs to show it has no better alternative than to terminate the plans. The PBGC estimates that the plans have about $8.3 billion in assets and $18.5 billion in promised benefits.
Alaska Airlines to begin twice-daily service between Seattle, Salt Lake City
Beginning April 4, 2013, Alaska Airlines will offer twice-daily service between Seattle, Wash., and Salt Lake City, Utah. Flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Alaska Airlines becomes the eighth air carrier with scheduled service in Salt Lake City, according to Maureen Riley, executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
A plane spotter’s work is never done. Even when no example of an aircraft in question has ever visited your home airport, someone always seeks to size up your spotting skills. Today’s attempt to trip you up with transportation trivia goes like this: What airplane is reminiscent of a scaled-down DC-10, with propellers? Without flinching, hesitating, or rolling your eyes you reply, “That’s easy!” and answer that the model in question goes by a name that is also a play on words: the Britten-Norman Trislander, a development of the twin-engine Islander.
AirClassics HS-1A headset from ASA
If you’re shopping for a moderately priced headset, ASA presents the AirClassics HS-1A, now with a flex boom microphone. The unit offers a noise reduction rating of 23 decibels; gold-plated microphone and headphone plugs to ensure a good connection and resist corrosion; an adjustable headband; foam ear seals; and a lifetime warranty. The headset sells for $149.95 and may be ordered online or by calling 800/272-2359.
Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
Who’s who: Broker, agent, direct writer
Purchasing insurance is a significant financial investment for most of us. That’s why it’s important that you understand the differences between the players that help you invest wisely. Read more from AOPA Insurance Services President Janet C. Bressler >>
High blood pressure disqualifying?
Warren Silberman warns against alternative medicines being hawked taking advantage of pilots’ concerns about losing their medical certification because of high blood pressure. “Approximately 590,000 airmen are currently medically certified, and out of them, more than 64,000 airmen are flying with high blood pressure on medication(s). So, it is not true that most airmen lose their medical because of high blood pressure!” Read more >>
Practice your crashes
The Discovery Channel special about crashing a 727 in the desert prompted professional pilot Chip Wright to ask, “How many people are familiar with the crash landing procedures in their airplanes?” He analyzes the show in the Flight Training blog.
Are you a rotary-wing pilot in training? You won’t want to miss Tim McAdams’ Hover Power blog, in which he discusses maneuvers, safety issues, and other topics of interest to the helicopter community. This installment describes a maneuver typically used when there might not be enough space available to hover.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for an events coordinator; AOPA eastern regional manager; marketing coordinator; .NET applications developer; production assistant–Web; member services representative; manager, AOPA Flying Club Network; contract administrator; Web developer (eMedia); major gifts officer; and Web graphic designer. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER